J K News Today Special
Jagmohan’s role as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir was emblematic of “ Frozen Turbulence” , the book that he authored to reflect the inner dilemma of the self and Kashmir struggling to overcome the situation, shades of which continue to hang in air till date.
He tried hard but could not fight his way to reshape the history the way he wanted, though he took things head on during the two tenures as Governor of the state that now stands divided into two union territories .
Today’s Jammu and Kashmir can trace easily to way the things he started during his two tenures- one that he completed in full from 1984-1989 , and the second that was cut short by an unfortunate incident reflecting that how even a strong man like him had lost command and control in the deluge of turmoil in Kashmir . The writ of the state had all but disappeared . The firing on the stream of people mourning the assassination of chief cleric of Kashmir, Moulvi Mohammad Farooq took place while he was chairing a high-level meeting at Raj Bhavan on the ill-fated day of May 21, 1990. Four days later, he was recalled from the state .
This man had arrived in Jammu and Kashmir in two avatars in which he played a role assigned by his political patrons of Indira Gandhi era . The second started in January 1990 when his ideology to fight militancy was put to test. His work was hobbled from the day one of his second innings- January 19, 1990 , when he proclaimed himself as “ nursing orderly” But the things were far beyond anyone’s control , the Indian state lost to the multiple interests had become directionless vis-à-vis Kashmir at that point in time .
Jagmohan , as such , will remain the most misunderstood man in Kashmir’s history , but what can be said without any fear of contradiction about him is that he did not hesitate to take things head on He filled the gaps where he felt he needed to. He obliged Indira Gandhi in dismissing Farooq Abdullah’s government that his predecessor B K Nehru had refused to do, despite being relative of the then Prime Minister.
His book Frozen Turbulence reflected his inner dilemma that perhaps he carried until Monday night when he breathed his last.
He succeeded a stalwart B K Nehru as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir with his primary task to dismiss the National Conference government headed by Farooq Abdullah who had annoyed the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ,for his political audacity . that happened in July 1984 , and the subsequent installation of the “ defectors government” headed by Farooq’s brother-in-law Ghulam Mohammad Shah was not to his liking , and finally he played the role of dismissing that government in March 1986 apparently due to the communal riots in the state that were engineered for the purpose.
His first spell of Governor’s rule introduced Jammu and Kashmir to the development era, afforestation in the cities , and takeover of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine by the Shrine Board . Since then, the Shrine Board has improved facilities at the shrine and enroute ..
He was a close witness to the history after Rajiv-Farooq accord of November 1986 that brought Farooq Abdullah back to power in coalition with Congress . He saw the emergence of the Muslim United Front in 1986, the original manifestation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference . From one end to the other, he had made his notes of what happened before and after the 1987 Assembly elections . He had started sending notes to the Rajiv Gandhi government from Srinagar warning him of the emerging dangers , but Delhi did not heed his voice .
His second term in January 1990 that began barely six months after he had left the state after completing the first term in July 1989 , was a great test for himself and Kashmir . The Valley was in turmoil and the writ of the state had faded , militants were calling shots . There was extreme panic among the Kashmiri Pandits who were being told to leave the Valley . The loudspeakers at mosques had become bush telegraphs amplifying threats for the minority community in the end . A fair judgment is yet to come on what he did; facilitated the migration of Kashmiri Pandits and the circumstances in which he was dismissed in May 1990.
Kashmiri Pandits hail him as their saviour . They think that had he not been there , they would not have been anywhere . They had left their homes and hearths hoping that they would be back sooner than later . That wait is on, at least for those Kashmiri Pandits who want to be back in the land of their forefathers, but they believe that had he stayed longer , perhaps they would have been back in the Valley.